LETESTU’S THIRD THREE HELPS PENS SWEEP RATS
ALBANY, NY – Mark Letestu notched his third three-point night of the season with two goals and an assist, and linemates Dustin Jeffrey and Nick Johnson contributed multiple-point efforts as the Penguins swept the weekend home-and-home series from the Albany River Rats by a 3-2 score on Sunday at the Times Union Center.
The Penguins were forced to kill off the game’s first power play for the second straight night, and got the momentum immediately after the kill. Chris Conner won a one-on-two battle along the boards to feed Deryk Engelland at the right point. Johnson picked the puck off the end boards from Engelland’s shot, and fed the puck to Letestu in the left circle for the wrist shot that beat netminder Justin Peters.
The 1-0 lead would hold up until late in the second while the teams were skating four-on-four. Rookie Zach Boychuk checked a Penguins defender into the corner boards, came out with the puck, and found teammate Mike Angelidis streaking down the slot. Angelidis ripped a wrister over the glove of Penguins goaltender Adam Berkhoel to pull the hosts even at 1-1.
The Penguins would score twice in a span of 2:32 in the third period, first with Letestu converting the rebound of defenseman Lane Caffaro’s point shot, and then with Johnson completing a two-on-one break with Letestu. Chris Terry would make things interesting with a falling-down wrist shot at 12:41 that pulled Albany to within 3-2. Albany would pressure the Penguins late in the third just as they did the previous night, but were unable to solve Berkhoel, who went on to stop 13 of 14 shots in the final frame and 24 of 26 overall to improve to 2-1-0.
With the win, the Penguins took over sole possession of third place in the East Division, thanks to the Rochester Americans’ 5-3 win over the Binghamton Senators in western New York.
Peters lost for the second consecutive night, putting up 34 saves to fall to 11-8-2.
The Penguins went 0-for-5 on the power play, while finishing 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Penguins return home tomorrow, December 28th, for a 7:05 pm battle with the Adirondack Phantoms. The first 1,500 kids age 14 and under will receive a zamboni bank courtesy of Geisinger. The 2009 portion of the Penguins’ schedule concludes on Wednesday, as the Penguins host the Binghamton Senators at 7:05 pm at Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
NOTES: The Penguins won their first Sunday game of the season, improving to 1-4-0-0 at the end of the weekend… The Penguins won back-to-back games for the first time since December 9th and 11th… The Penguins held the opposition to two goals or less in four of their last five contests… C Dustin Jeffrey added team-leading points 31 and 32 with his two assists… RW Nick Johnson has 12 points in his last 11 games since returning from injury on December 9th.